Research Spotlight: Melinda Leko

Q & A with Melinda Leko, Ph. D., Professor in the School of Special Education, School Psychology, and Early Childhood Studies

What research are you currently working on?

Currently, I am working on an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Development project in professional development to support students with disabilities. My colleagues and I are developing a professional development (PD) innovation for emergency-certified special educators working in rural settings. The PD is being delivered remotely and includes individualized coaching and a community of practice. The PD content centers on social/emotional/behavioral high-leverage practices (HLPs) to support the needs of students who exhibit challenging behaviors.

What is the broader impact of your research?

My research centers on how to best prepare educators to provide students with disabilities with an equitable, inclusive, and socially just education. When educators are better prepared, there are a series of positive outcomes including higher student achievement, higher teacher self-efficacy, and better retention of teachers.

What other research topics are you interested in?

I am interested in reading instruction for adolescents with disabilities and the rigorous use of qualitative and mixed methods research in special education.